Pastors, Sermons and Sermon Series Ideas, Uncategorized

Deliver Us from Evil

I gave a sermon entitled “Deliver Us from Evil” at Stonybrook Church on March 14, 2010. We know that evil things happen all of the time in our world, and all of us face suffering caused by evil (the New Testament authors would call disease and death evil, as well).

The sermon audio was too distored to hear, so I can’t post it. I posted my manuscript and visuals, however, so you can read the sermon and follow along with the visuals. (I write my sermons to be spoken, not read, so my manuscript is not grammatically correct. I write real good-like when I wants too.)

Deliver Us from Evil Sermon Draft 5 Blog

Deliver Us from Evil Draft 5 [Compatibility Mode]

Video 1- Big Bang Theory:

Video 2- Bono speaking at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast (I showed a 2 minute clip of Bono talking about the number of times poverty is mentioned in the Bible about how he learned not to simply ask God to bless what he was doing):

Pastors, Preaching

Sermon Tips from Mike Cunningham

The following tips are from Mike Cunningham, Youth Pastor, New Hope Community Church, Chula Vista, CA:

Sermon Writing Tips

Find a place where you can think, dream and focus.  It could be your office, but I would recommend finding a place outside of it since you are already in the office a lot, handling other things and people can stop by which can be distracting.  I find going to a public place always stokes my creative juices because I have to focus more. Plus I learn a lot from just watching people.  Go to a coffee shop, Panera bread, McDonalds, wherever you can get going and, of course, a place with good iced tea!

Don’t overcook your sermon, meaning designate a certain amount of time each week to get all your prep done and once your done you are done.  Let the Holy Spirit bless what you have put together. (Thank you Craig Groeschel for that tip!  It’s always stuck with me!)

Study your audience.  Know who they are and where they are at in life. Get to know their family situations when you can.  If you don’t have time to do all this then make sure you find out what the audience is like.

Use multiple Bible translations.  I would choose one that you firmly believe is a solid literal translation, but don’t be afraid or bias to sprinkle in other translations as you study.  Helps text come to life more

Pray, Pray, Pray!  It sounds cliché, but it’s so true.  When I’ve prayed I can tell a distinct difference in the impact of the messages.

Get feedback from your congregation.  Find out what’s troubling them, what issues are they dealing with.

Lectio Devina!  Read through the text multiple times and with each time pull things that stick out to you.

Always be on the lookout for personal stories and applications throughout your prep process for that week and the future.  People always connect with personal stories.  God uses your story to impact others.

It’s always good to have a spouse or confidant who you can practice on and have them proofread your sermon.

Practice your sermon at least once.

Stay up to date with culture and the news because many people in your audience do, and it’s good to relate it all together and show how Christ-followers should respond.

Sermon Delivery Tips

Don’t try to be other people.  Be yourself.  You can take little things from good speakers, but in the end, be yourself.

Move around.  It helps keep people’s attention and keeps them interested.

Object lessons are very powerful!  Have a display of phone books, or phones, or other devices when you do a series on God’s Call in your Life and leave it on stage until you’re done!  Helps them remember.

Use a lot of media.  In today’s age, it can add so much power and impact to your message.  Don’t overuse it, but looks for multiple ways to interject media like photos, videos, interviews, games, etc.

Audience participation.  It helps break the ice and reminds people that you are one of them, just in the journey together with them.  Get them on stage, ask them questions, etc.

Voice inflection – know when and how to use your voice in a sermon to make a stronger impact.

Personal stories.  Make sure they are appropriate and don’t be afraid to get emotional.  Let them see that you are humble and human.

Always ask for feedback.  It helps you continue to grow in your ability.

Be animated.  Tell jokes. Move your hands, but don’t overdo it.  That’s why it’s good to practice on somebody beforehand to get a response.

Look at people. It can make a bigger impact than you know!

Don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself.  It’s not only funny, but once again it reminds them that you are not the focus, God is!

Try to tie in all the aspects of the service to your message.  It helps enhance the message.

Pastors, Posts I Consider to be the Most Important, Preaching, Uncategorized

Narrative Sermons

I recently reread Eugene Lowry’s The Homiletical Plot and developed a sermon along with it entitled “Not Into Temptation”. You can listen to it and download my full manuscript and visuals here. In my experience, some pastors think that narrative sermons consist of simply telling stories. Narrative sermons, however, are more intentional and well-designed than that.

Narrative sermons are crafted according to the movements of drama. In other words, they have a plot, and they employ suspense with the goal of keeping the congregation’s attention and involving them in an experience instead of just giving them information.

Lowry’s movements of a drama are: 1) Upsetting the Equilibirum, 2) Analyzing the Discrepancy, 3) Disclosing the Clue, 4) Experiencing the Gospel, and 5) Anticipating the Consequences.

Robert Mckee’s excellent guide for Hollywood screenwriters, Story, coincides with Lowry nicely. McKee’s terms are: 1) Inciting Incident, 2) Progressive Complications, 3) Crisis, 4) Climax, and 5) Resolution.

Lowry also discusses what sets the stage for a good sermon in the first place. He writes that a sermon is born out of the Intersection Point between a scratch and an itch. The scratch is the biblical theme of the sermon. The itch is the felt-need in members of the congregation. Where the biblical theme scratches the felt itch, a sermon is born.  A biblical sermon theme might be interesting, but if the sermon theme does not scratch an itch, then the congregation leaves thinking, “So what?”

This itch is not the same as the itch described in 2 Timothy 4:3, “3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” What makes Lowry’s itch very different from the itch in this passage is that your sermon them will be sound doctrine. The writer of 2 Timothy is concerned with teaching that is not biblical. Your theme, the scratch, will be biblical. It just needs to scratch an itch that the congregation feels, or they won’t understand what the sermon means for their lives. In other words, without scratching the itch,  there will be no clear application of your sermon. A sermon is born when the biblical theme scratches the felt-itch of the congregation.